In early August 2020, strong storms blew through St. Louis, causing power outages and other disruptions. A friend shared a story about the storm causing a modem to burst into flames spectacularly, then asked if it was real. It probably was. It’s entirely possible for a storm to damage a modem, sometimes in dramatic fashion.
Although it’s unusual, it is entirely possible for a storm to damage a modem. The damage can be partial, or complete.
Sometimes you’ll hear references to a PS2 keyboard, or, more properly, a PS/2 keyboard. It’s an old standard, and a fair number of newer computers can’t use them anymore. But what is a PS2 keyboard? And if it was good enough to last so long, why did it go away?
Laser printers tend to be fairly low-maintenance items. When they start printing streaks across your pages, that’s how you know it’s time for service. It doesn’t usually mean you need a new printer. Here’s how to fix laser printer streaks.
Laser printer streaks usually mean the printer’s toner cartridge or drum unit has a problem. On some printers the drum unit is part of the toner cartridge, but on cheaper printers, it may be a separate piece.
Westinghouse is an old, respected brand in the United States, and you can find Westinghouse TVs everywhere. But are Westinghouse TVs good? If they aren’t, it’s because Westinghouse TVs aren’t what they seem.
Westinghouse TVs are made by Tsinghua Tongfang, a Chinese state-owned electronics company. Other brands made by Tsinghua Tongfang include Seiki and Element.
If you need a budget video card, there are probably two cards on your radar: The GT 710 and GT 1030. While the 1030 costs twice as much as the 710, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The GT 710 vs GT 1030 comes down to a battle for the cheapest card worth having. Here’s how to decide which one is for you.
Both the GT 710 and 1030 are really intended for casual computing. But both of them have their use cases, especially in SFF desktops.
Bad capacitors are the bane of generations of consumer electronics. They plagued early 90s Amigas and Macs, early 2000s PCs, and cheap hardware even today. So why do capacitors fail? And how can you tell when a failed capacitor is a problem?
Capacitors fail when the electrolyte dries out, or when the gas inside them builds up to a point that it opens a safety valve and the electrolyte leaks out. A good capacitor takes decades to dry out, but a cheap capacitor can leak within a few short years.
Western Digital phased out its HGST brand, but you may still encounter those drives from time to time. So is HGST a good brand? More importantly, are HGST drives reliable? And can you still buy an HGST drive today?
While “Brand X by Brand Y” type brands often indicate something lower-tier, that’s not really the case with HGST. Use of a separate brand was a legal requirement, and there never was anything second-rate about HGST.
When troubleshooting machines, I was trained to routinely reseat every board and every chip in the case. Especially if there was nothing visibly wrong with the machine, it was amazing how often that worked. So why does reseating RAM work? Why does reseating anything else work?
Reseating works because it improves conductivity. Connectors can get dirty or oxidized, and if that interferes with conductivity, it causes malfunctions.
Dell Optiplex minitowers aren’t really designed with adding case fans in mind. But with a little creativity, you can install one inexpensively, and without making it too terribly much louder either. Here’s how.
With a power adapter, an 80mm fan, and some zip ties, it’s possible to add a case fan to a Dell Optiplex. The opening in the side panel is in just the right place for even a small fan to make a difference.